Organic mulches reduce crop attack by sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius)

Mudassir Rehman, Jian Liu, Anne C. Johnson, Taiwo Esther Dada, Geoff M. Gurr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Mulching with organic materials is a management practice with long history for weed suppression, soil water conservation and erosion control. Its potential impact on crop pests is less well explored. Here we report its utility for reducing crop damage by the serious pest, sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius). Laboratory bioassays measured the response of adult female weevils to sweetpotato storage roots beneath mulches of fresh or dried plant materials. Weevils were significant repelled by fresh basil, catnip, basil lime and dry eucalyptus, cypress, lucerne and sugarcane. A subsequent field study found that mulches of dry cypress, eucalyptus and lucerne reduced movement of weevils from a release point to reach sweetpotato plants and lowered level of damage to storage roots. Results demonstrate that mulching with organic materials merits further testing as part of the integrated management of sweetpotato weevil, particularly to protect developing storage roots during dry periods when soil cracking can facilitate access by pests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14860
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Organic mulches reduce crop attack by sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this